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Full text of "A history of Persia"

444                 HISTORY OF PERSIA                 CHAP.
twenty-four he proclaimed himself the Bab, or " Gate,"
intimating thereby that he was the " Gate " through which
men might attain to knowledge of the Twelfth Imam. In
the same year the Bab, as he was thenceforth termed,
undertook the pilgrimage to Mecca and on returning by
way of Bushire attracted considerable attention, followers
gathering round him in large numbers. Encouraged by
this support, he determined to convert his own city to his
doctrines. In spite of the fact that his representative was
bastinadoed and mutilated by the Governor—the same
Husayn Khan who had been unsuccessful as an envoy
to England—the Bab entered Shiraz. Confronted with
the doctors of law, he declared that the mission of
Mohamed was ended and that he himself had come to
inaugurate a new era. The astonished assembly requested
a written statement of his claims, but when this was
presented it was found to be illegible. The Bab was
consequently pronounced a madman and was beaten and
imprisoned.
His followers meanwhile increased in numbers and
persecutions were instituted. An attack was made by
the Shirazis on the house where the founder of the sect
was imprisoned, but he escaped to Isfahan. After a while
he was sent in captivity to Maku, in the extreme north-
west corner of Persia, and thence to Chihrik, near Urumia,
where he declared himself to be the Imam Mahdi.
Finally he was ordered to execution at Tabriz. In
the great square he received the volley of a firing party,
and when the smoke rolled away he was not to be seen.
The shots had cut his ropes and he had fled. Had he
gained the town he might have escaped, and his religion
would have been firmly established by the miracle—as it
would have been deemed. Unfortunately for himself, he
took refuge in the guard-room, where he was found*
He was at once taken back to the square and shot.
His Doctrines.—His doctrines, as expounded in the
Bayan> or " Book of Doctrine," are mystical and obscure.
To quote Wollaston, " God is Eternal and Unapproach-
able. All things come from Him and exist by Him. Man
cannot approach Him except through some appointed